Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Personal Style

I keep this photo on my desk. Apart from the fact that I find it utterly charming, it reminds me of something. It reminds me that some things cannot be taught. They just are. In this particular case, personal style is the concept I’m thinking of. This little girl had it, obviously, and at a very early age. It was something innate. One can see it in the supremely relaxed confidence of that stance, in the way she is wearing those clothes, in that serene stare, aimed like a rapier at the camera pointed her way. She is unique.

There is something wonderful about unique style. I’m not thinking of taste here. Taste can develop, be honed by study, by travel, by an appreciation of, and exposure to, beauty. But true uniqueness of style is often something simply inexplicable. It just is. Think of Diana Vreeland, or Georgia O’Keefe. One didn’t necessarily see their style emerging, transforming itself to the whims of the public or the trends of the day. Their style was their style, always, be it popular or not. Ah, it’s a rare thing, especially in our increasingly cookie-cutter world. Rare, and timeless, for someone in possession of a unique personal style retains that possession no matter their age. It was, it is , it remains. Yes, truly a wonderful thing.

Oh, and the little girl in the photograph? No doubt you recognize her, but just in case you don’t, she is Jacqueline Bouvier, who grew up to be Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.